When the Buffalo Bills take on the Washington Redskins tonight in each team's pre-season opener, many Bills fans will be paying keen attention to one of the most talked-about positional battles of the summer at wide receiver. Players like Donald Jones, Derek Hagan, T.J. Graham, Marcus Easley and others will be closely scrutinized tonight and for the next month.
I thought it'd be prudent, given that expected scrutiny, to at least roughly gauge the level of competition against which those receivers will be performing. Who better to ask than Kevin Ewoldt of HogsHaven.com?
"Man... the Redskins secondary is a mess right now," Ewoldt told me Wednesday.
"The starters last year, O.J. Atogwe and LaRon Landry, are gone," Ewoldt continued. "The Redskins had to cut O.J. to make cap room with the salary cap penalty, and Landry was a guy that can't stay healthy. After using what was left of our cap penalty on Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, the Redskins were forced to go dumpster diving for defensive backs."
One of those players signed was veteran cornerback Cedric Griffin, who will likely spend some time covering Buffalo's young receivers tonight. The seventh-year veteran spent his first six seasons with Minnesota, and he recorded one interception in 14 starts a year ago. Ewoldt also mentioned fourth-year pro Kevin Barnes - whom he labeled a "disappointment" a year ago - and undrafted rookie free agent Richard Crawford as reserve cornerbacks that should play quite a bit on Thursday.
Those are the names - Griffin, Barnes and Crawford - to keep in mind as you evaluate Buffalo's young receivers tonight. Griffin and Barnes have plenty of NFL experience, so regardless of the talent level and expectations, it should be a pretty solid test for the likes of Graham, Easley and others.